On November 20, 2015, MCPHS University hosted the 3rd annual Veteran-Centered Care Conference to promote awareness of Veteran care among our healthcare students. This year the conference took place at 19 Foster Street on our Worcester campus with distance education to both the Manchester, NH and Boston, MA campuses. With overwhelming participation from the Schools of nursing, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistant students, 292 attendees, explored the barriers of providing access to healthcare for Veterans, unique challenges for women Veterans, and how to care for the Veteran’s family and caregivers. Surrounded by patriotic colors Dr. Kara Gagnon, founder/CEO of the non-profit, Braveminds (aka Peace of Mind Brain Injury Services) addressed the audience and provided insights on working with veterans and their families. Her presentation, Ask Well, Listen Well, Go Looking For, gave the students a framework on how to interact with patients and their caregivers. The program then shifted to the “unfolding case”, an interactive activity to foster audience participation and enhance student learning. Participants listened to an audio recording of a female Veteran who has just learned that her fetus has a cleft palate and how she processes the diagnosis. After hearing the case, students collaborated in interprofessional groups to answer questions associated with the case. At this point the panelists were invited to the table to tell their stories. Panelists included student Antwon Boston (1st year PharmD student), Colin Halloran (Veteran/Writer, and English professor at Fairfield University, CT, and Wentworth Institute of Technology, MA), Dr. Cynthia Heden (Veteran/Assistant Professor for the School of Nursing, MCPHS University, Boston campus), Dr. Megan McPhail (Assistant Professor for the School of Optometry, MCPHS University, Worcester campus), and Carrie Walker (Director of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Saint Joseph and civilian contractor for the US Military). As in years past, the stories moved those in attendance and provided relevant perspectives regarding Veterans’ healthcare issues. Audience members then returned to their groups to review the unfolding case questions and discuss how their answers might have changed after listening to the panelists. Finally, the groups came together to discuss their various answers and viewpoints.
This annual interprofessional event was coordinated by representatives of the following programs/departments; School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, School of Physical Therapy, School of Optometry, and Library and Learning Resources.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of our military members and families who sacrifice so much for our freedom.
Antwon Boston - School of Pharmacy '18, MCPHS University
Colin Halloran - Veteran / Writer, and English professor at Fairfield University, CT, and Wentworth Institute of Technology, MA
Carrie Walker - Physician Assistant and civilian contractor for the US Military
Cindy Heden - Assistant Professor for Nursing at MCPHS University.
Megan McPhail - Assistant Professor for Optometry at MCPHS University.